Prenatal and Newborn Development

Alicia Stack * EDU/305 * Nov. 16, 2015 * Stephanie Hofeling

Prenatal and Newborn Milestones

Early development of a child starts in the early stages of pregnancy. The first trimester the fetus develops at:

3-4 weeks - a primitive brain develops

5-8 weeks - external structures form, sense of touch begins to develop and the embryo now has the ability to move

9-12 weeks - the fetus increases in size and behavioral capacities develop

During the second trimester, 13- 24 weeks, the fetus continues to increase in size, fetal movement is more pronounced and the mother will begin to notice. Most brain neurons are now present as well as the eyes develop a blinking rhythm and respond to light. The ears can hear and react to sounds.

During the third trimester, 25 - 30 weeks, the fetus again has increased size, long maturity and sensory and behavioral capacities have expanded due to the rapid brain development.

During the newborn stages the infants develop reflexes such as sucking, rooting, and grasping with increased strength, known as palmar grasp. Sensory capacities are well developed such as touch and strong sense of smell. Sensitivity to sounds increases after a few months of birth. Visions capacity is blurry even from close-up but focuses more later in months.

Stimulating Development in the First Year

Tips For Parents

Parents are the first stimulant in the development of their children. You can stimulate your child's development by

- talking with your baby as infants love to hear the parents' voices

- mimic sounds and use words to develop language

- read picture books to your baby as this will visual stimulate present more language and sounds

- give your baby a sense of security by holding and cuddling with your baby

- play when your baby is alert and calm and always take breaks to allow your baby to rest

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015)

Cultural Influences on Child Development

Cultural influences varies from one society to the next and each of those with their own way of living, resources and expectations held among children. The way a parent raises their child greatly impacts their social and academic development. Children from unstable troubled homes often look stability elsewhere. This often can lead to childhood depression which can negatively affect their mood and attitudes towards their education. (Berk., 2012)

Ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, abilities, stereotypes all contribute to different aspects of a child's development.

(Boundless, 2015)

Nature Versus Nurture

According to, " Nature and Nurture work hand and hand in the development of children. their are many genetic factors that go into play in a child's development such as a child's temperament an how they respond to certain stressors or stimuli has mostly to do with their genetics. Where as, a child who has been socially inclined will most likely be shy and quiet around others. However, if a child is socially introvert they will be as sociable as possible. (T. M McDevitt,; J. E. Ormrod, 2010)

Parent Understanding

Understanding your child's development from the vey start is essential in the foundation of their education. Knowing key milestones and contributing to developing those milestones will help to engage your child early in learning. Your child will learn to explore the world around them and learn fascinating things from the simplest of activities and adventures. Your understanding will create a structure to influence how your child learns and develops.


Berk., L. E. (2012). Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Pearson Education, Inc.

Boundless. (2015). Cultural and Societal Influences on Child Development. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Child Development: Milestones. Retrieved from

T. M McDevitt,; J. E. Ormrod. (2010). Nature and Nurture. Retrieved from